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EU Lawmakers Back Cooperation Deal With Afghanistan, Warn Of Kabul Government's 'Fragility'

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, center, meeting with the ambassadors of EU countries ambassadors in Kabul, on March 4
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, center, meeting with the ambassadors of EU countries ambassadors in Kabul, on March 4

BRUSSELS -- The European Parliament has endorsed a legal framework for cooperation between the bloc and Afghanistan, taking the agreement one step closer to ratification.

A total of 513 lawmakers on March 13 backed the EU-Afghanistan Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development (CAPD), with 85 voting against it.

The CAPD, described as the "first contractual relationship" between the EU and Afghanistan, was signed by the sides in February 2017, leading to its provisional application as of December that year.

The full entry into force of the agreement is now subject to ratification by the national and certain regional parliaments of the EU member states.

The CAPD provides the basis for regular political dialogue, including on human rights, as well as cooperation in areas such as the rule of law, health, and education, according to the European Parliamentary Research Service.

The agreement also sets out actions to combat corruption, money laundering, the financing of terrorism, organized crime, and narcotics.

The European Parliament also passed a nonbinding resolution on March 13 expressing concern over the "fragility and instability" of the Western-backed government in Kabul and the "lack of control it exerts in much of the country."

The text calls on EU member states to "assist in efforts against the long-term trend of inter-ethnic tensions that contributes to the disintegration of central power and to support the rich multi-ethnic fabric of Afghan society."

The vote took place the day after Taliban and U.S. negotiators concluded another round of talks in Qatar aimed at ending the nearly 18-year war in Afghanistan -- half of which is reportedly controlled by the militant group.

Both sides reported progress during the latest negotiations.

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